THE Enterprise Minister, Arlene Foster has declined an invitation from local councillors to discuss fracking in the county ‘at this time’.
The revelation came to light at this month’s meeting after Sinn Fein member, Barry Doherty explained that the council had sent two letters, one to the Environment Minister, Mark H. Durkan and the other to Minister Foster asking for them to come down to Enniskillen and discuss the issue of fracking.
At the meeting, Mr Doherty revealed that Mr Durkan stated in his reply that he was unable to attend such a meeting, but was happy to send officials from his department.
The reply from Ms Foster left the Sinn Fein councillor, “very, very disappointed.” He told the meeting about a two-paragraph reply refusing to meet with the council.
“I propose we send a letter back out,” he exclaimed. “Serious questions this council has asked over the last few years and we have been refused a meeting with DETI. It is not good enough.”
He went on: “The Minister has nothing to fear from us, nothing to fear from coming down to Fermanagh. But, while the minister may consider the meeting no longer necessary, we certainly do.”
It was agreed that the council would send another letter to the Enterprise Minister regarding a meeting to discuss fracking in Fermanagh.
A Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment spokesman told the Herald: “The Council and Environmental Health Committee had asked to meet the Minister to discuss Tamboran’s activities in relation to shale gas exploration.
“However, in light of the Department of Environment Minister’s decision that the company could not go ahead with a proposed borehole without full planning permission, these activities have been put on hold and it was therefore felt a meeting was no longer needed at this time.
“The Minister did not refuse to meet with the council, and will be happy to do so at a more appropriate time in the future.”
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